C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Man, two sons among 5 killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 1
A man, his two sons and two others were killed in an accident near Rangilpur village on the Kharar-Kiratpur Sahib stretch of the National Highway 21 this morning.

The accident took place around 6:30 am, when the Tavera the Amritsar-based family had hired collided head on with a Punjab Roadways bus.

The bus was going from Chandigarh to Amritsar while the Tavera, carrying seven persons, was going towards Chandigarh.

Bus driver Baisakha Singh of Amritsar told the police that the driver of the Tavera was driving at high speed. Five of the seven occupants of the taxi died on the spot.

There were around 20 passengers in the bus, who received minor injuries as Baisakha tried to bring the bus to a screeching halt, but failed. The taxi’s front portion was damaged beyond recognition.

The deceased were identified as Jagdev Singh of Chak Pandhori village in Amritsar, his sons Rashpal Singh and Captain Singh, his

brother-in-law Shingara Singh of Fatehpur village and driver Dilbagh Singh of Chamiari village.

They were rushed to the Civil Hospital at Ropar, where doctors declared them brought dead. Jagdev’s brother-in-law Swaran Singh and his son Sonu received serious injuries. They were referred to the PGI in Chandigarh.

The police said the family was coming to the PGI in Chandigarh for the treatment of Jagdev’s son Rashpal, who had been suffering from some psychiatric disorder. The police registered a case against Baisakha.

Risky Stretch

For the past two years, the road is being widened to six lanes. The entire stretch sans reflectors and diversion signboards at strategic points. This is a crucial link connecting Chandigarh to parts of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and has heavy traffic plying on it round the clock. Driving at night becomes more difficult as lights are inadequate. The accident site has more than four roads from all directions joining a single spot. “This is one of the most vulnerable points on the road. The administration and the traffic police give no thought to making the journey safer,” said Jarnail Singh of Rangilpur village. SSP LK Yadav said his office had written to the construction company concerned to put up signboards, but had not monitored the implementation of orders.

Deadline Over

The widening project has jumped its deadline. Slated to be completed by June 22, almost 90 per cent of the work is pending. It is covered under Phase III of the National Highways Development Project at a cost of Rs 309 crore.



Cricket academies or shops to mint money?
Many sans qualified coaches, infrastructure
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Raking in moolah on the cricket craze, cricket academies have mushroomed in the tricity. Surprisingly, many of these ‘shops’, which are over 30 in number, are being run by people who have nothing to do with the game.

Certainly, the sole aim is to mint money. The unsuspecting parents who want to see their wards as next Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj or Dhoni, have been falling prey to these academies, most of which have been coming up in schools.

The charges of most of the academies range between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000, excluding the admission fee per trainee. But in the name of training, the budding players are being provided improper infrastructure, unqualified coaches and participation in the tournaments that are not recognised by the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI).

Terming such academies as shops, Surinder Singh Bai Jee, general secretary of the Chandigarh Cricket Association (affiliated to the Haryana Cricket Association), said they are doing business in the name of the game. “Budding cricketers as well as their parents are being fleeced by these shopkeepers,” said Bai Jee.

“I fail to understand why people do not enquire about the major factors like the qualification of the coach, its affiliation to the BCCI or the facilities before sending their wards to any coaching centre. Many cricket academies in the city are sans proper grounds, net facilities and qualified coaches,” lamented Bai Jee, adding that the persons who have no experience of the game even at district level run most of these academies.

Former North Zone cricketer and BCCI match referee Rakesh Jolly said the main aim of such academies is to mint money. They are not promoting the game but exploiting it, said Jolly.

According to the BCCI norms, the academy must have turf wicket as every tournament backed by the BCCI is played on turf. “But show me how many of these academies have turf. The budding cricketers are being made to play on substandard mats at these academies,” said Jolly.

Coach of the Chandigarh Sports Department Nagesh Gupta, who imparts training to budding cricketers at the Government Senior Secondary School cricket coaching centre in Sector 19, said the parents should go to those academies where the coach is NIS or BCCI (level I) qualified. “Otherwise, sending your wards to academies without qualified coaches or proper infrastructure is wastage of money,” said Nagesh Gupta.



Practise what you preach!
Malaria office showcases lack of cleanliness
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The office of Assistant Director (Malaria) needs to take care of itself before giving sermons to residents of Chandigarh to observe cleanliness in their surroundings. The office is itself a breeding ground for mosquitoes, flies and other germ carriers.

During a visit to the building, located in the UT secretariat extension at Sector 9, it has been found that corridors are packed with scrap, old furniture and carpets and outdated posters and banners on malaria.

Adding to its woes, sweepers with the department do not bother to dispose of garbage in the bins as most papers and cigarette butts keep lying in the passage of the department. If one stands stationary for a moment, the buzz of mosquitoes can be heard all around.

Surprisingly, the Aqua Guard in the water cooler for supplying safe and filtered water to employees and visitors is not in working condition. The few toilets in the building emit foul smell and are in a shabby condition. There is no water supply in some of the toilets and water taps are broken in others, which results in overflowing water. The stagnant water has flies and mosquito larvae.

The Assistant Director (Malaria)-cum-Surveillance Officer, Dr GC Bansal, says the maintenance of the building is with the UT Chief Engineer’s department, adding that his department is not responsible for supervising civic amenities in the building.

Members of the Chandigarh Engineering Employees Union rue that they have been complaining about the miserable condition of the building to the authorities for the last two years, but no action has been taken so far. The department’s sole mission is to make residents of the city aware of malaria, dengue and other water-borne diseases and to ensure that they maintain sanitary conditions in and around their residences.



Aerocity Infrastructure
Govt found wanting
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 1
In this gateway to Punjab, urbanisation precedes infrastructure. While the Punjab government has been ‘selling’ Mohali by announcing a succession of housing projects, it has been found wanting in putting basic infrastructure in place.

Be it supply of potable water or electricity, the gap between demand and supply is increasing every year, with the town’s population already touching 3 lakh.

The latest housing project, Aerocity, a money-spinner for the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), is all set to pose yet another challenge to the development agency as far as developing infrastructure is concerned.

Planned over an area of 1,200 acres for a population of 60,000, the housing project is anticipated to result in an increase in influx of people, creating a demand for support services like transportation, water supply, drainage and sewerage, and garbage collection and disposal far exceeding the present status.

It seems that the availability of existing amenities is not being adequately taken into consideration. Sample this: Mohali’s peak demand for water is 23 mgd (millions gallon per day) against the availability of 13.2 mgd (including 10 mgd from Kajauli).

While it may take a few more years to bridge the gap of 10 mgd, for a projected population of about 60,000 (from residential and commercial units) in Aerocity, the demand of water is around four mgd. Sunil Kansal, executive engineer, Public Health, GMADA, has said the demand will initially be met from tubewells.

No government agency at Mohali has made any effort to recharge or save groundwater. The only short-term measure to meet the water demand lies in boring more tubewells.

This is a limited measure because of the depleting groundwater level. Around 20 tubewells are to be bored to meet the water demand for the upcoming project.

Proportionate to the water consumption, the discharge of sewage is projected at around three mgd. “While the town is yet to get a sewage treatment plant, one can only imagine how much time it will take to set up a treatment plant for Aerocity,” observes a public health official.

Mohali is already facing a problem of frequent power cuts. Aerocity will need another 50 MVA. GMADA officials are hopeful that the new power plant being set up in Punjab will begin functioning in time to power Aerocity.

Defending the housing project, GMADA officials are hopeful that the emergence of Aerocity will be a catalyst to the development of Mohali. It is being developed near the upcoming international airport.



It’s tempting, but risky
Illegal ice-cream carts dot roundabouts at night
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Hundreds of illegal ice-cream carts dotting roundabouts of the city at night continue to pose a serious threat to traffic.

While residents may have found comfort in buying ice-cream from carts along busy crossings, nobody seems to be bothered about the serious threat that these cars wrongly parked on roads pose to other commuters.

Though the MC authorities are aware of the illegal sale during night hours and the consequent traffic threat, they dub it more of a social problem than anything else.

If one happens to pass the Sector 34-35-43-44 roundabout and the crossings in front of the Sector-17 ISBT and the Sector-26 Grain Market, one can invariably spot ice-cream sellers, especially during late hours.

MC Additional Commissioner PK Sharma says, “These ice-cream sellers are aware that the enforcement staff on duty are off at 8 pm, after which they arrive. We conduct a special drive once a week to challan them during late hours to keep a check on them.”

Even the authorities are unable to find a permanent solution to this increasing problem. “At the most, we can fine them Rs 500, take their carts and keep those carts for two or three days. After they pay the fine, they take their carts back and start off again,” he adds. also generating revenue to the state exchequer. The catch here is that big players are involved in the illegal sale. While sellers earn a meagre amount of between Rs 150 and Rs 200 per day, big brands make profit and have nothing to lose.

Says Dharmender Kumar, who sells a popular brand of ice-cream, “We get 15 per cent of the total sale we do in a day from the company which provides the ice-cream and the cart. If the cart gets impounded and challaned, we have to run around, pay the fine at Mani Majra and go to the MC building at Sector 17 to get it back. The company pays us the amount of fine.”

There have been numerous allegations against the enforcement staff as well as cops of demanding money from these roadside sellers to let them carry on their business, but the authorities differ on the allegations. “The staff is engaged in a negative job and so, such allegations are bound to appear,” says Sharma.



Girl’s Murder
Cops round up drug addicts
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Drug addicts of Dadu Majra area, where the body of 22-year-old Neha Ahlawat, was found around 11.55 pm on Friday, are under the scanner of the police for their suspected involvement in the murder.

Though the police is clueless, it is working on the possibility of rape, possibly at the hands of drug addicts in the area. Some of them have been rounded up for questioning.

Neha had gone to Sector 15 for tuition on the fateful day, but did not return home at night. Her family began looking for her and her body was found in the shrubs at an entry gate of the locality around midnight.

The body bore injury marks all over and was in a semi nude condition. Her Honda Activa scooter was found near the body and its tools were scattered on the road.

The entry gate, opposite a taxi stand, is located on the road leading to Dadu Majra.

A police officer part of the investigating team said the miscreants, most probably drug addicts, might have found the victim to be a soft target since she was talking on her mobile at the entry gate around 8.30 pm.

The police has also detained Bhitesh, a resident of Sector 40, with whom Neha was talking at the time of the incident. Police sources said Bhitesh told investigators that he was talked to her around 8.30 pm and the call was suddenly disconnected.

He made several calls to her, but all went unanswered except one. He then started searching for her on the road leading to her house and even hospitals. “I thought she had met with an accident,” he told the police.

“It seemed that she was hit with a stone by the miscreants from far, following which she fell and was raped before being murdered. The miscreants could have been more than one,” the police sources stated.

DSP (South) Vijay Kumar said the police was working on the angle of drug addicts, but it had yet to confirm if she was raped since the medical report was awaited.

Police sources said Bhitesh, who spoke to Neha probably just before she was killed, told the police that when the call got suddenly disconnected around 8.30 pm, he made several calls to her. Of these only one was attended by a person who told him that the phone had been sold to him for Rs 500 and that he was talking from Badheri village. Ragbir Ahlawat, father of the victim, had also stated that Kanika, a friend of Neha, got the same answer when she called up on Neha’s phone. The police suspects that one of the miscreants had taken the call with the purpose of misleading the callers.


Open House
Bulbul case bares slumped healthcare
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

The tragic death of the newborn while her mother ‘Bulbul’ was caught in the rigmarole of getting a bed at the hands of the callous hospital staff at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, recently, is a telling comment on a crippled healthcare system as a whole.

The blame game in “nailing” the guilty has already commenced. Ram Niwas, the Home Secretary, has rubbished the initial inquiry reports holding a maid responsible in not guiding the patient. There are contradictory reports about the child’s health at the time of birth. Dharma, the maid, has been named as the main errant in the initial report, which meant a clean chit for the doctors. A fresh inquiry under ADC PS Shergill is expected to clear all the loopholes. At the same time there are no instances of any exemplary punishments for medical negligence in the past in the city.

Besides, a fair report on the current case, one feels the issue involved, in this case, is much larger. It’s purely by chance and to the bad luck of Bulbul that her case has become the take off point for, yet, another debate on the maimed healthcare system.

A report of the incident read that “CCTV footage showed Bulbul being forced to move from one room to another in labour pain, taking the support of her husband Chhotu for at least 24 minutes before the baby was delivered at the counter of the OPD. None of the staff members, including doctors, nurses, counter clerks, laboratory technicians or security personnel, bothered to offer a stretcher or wheelchair to the illiterate couple, who were new to the city hospital”.

There are hundred of such Bulbuls praying for their luck in the crowded corridors of the government hospitals and the PGIMER, in the city, every day. Several babies are delivered on the hospital gate and corridors, while patients and relatives struggle with the procedural wrangling.

Let us accept the reality of these doctors being overburdened. The visitors come from various parts of the region, including Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, parts of Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and even Western Rajasthan. Analysing the immediate incident, there are certain areas worth a deliberation including:

Poor emergency response

Even without an inquiry report, there can be no denial to the fact that the emergency response system in the government hospitals is alarming. Despite an immediate announcement for more stretchers and staff on the emergency gate, after the recent incident, there has been no change on ground, till date, in handling emergency cases at the hospital. Doctors will concede that even if the emergency services were spruced up in wake of heavy media criticism, it will be difficult to sustain it under the existing circumstances.

Instead of taking cudgels of the perennial excuse of staff shortage for the lopsided patient handling, the hospital authorities need to prioritise their job requirements within the existing manpower. Preparing ground for handling emergency cases will have to be a priority.

Patient handling

Blame it on the rush or the attitude towards general public, a sizable majority of patients is just dumped in the available space on the hospital beds. It’s a common sight to see two expectant mothers sharing the beds in the gynaecology wards.

Patients complain that doctors never tell them about their problems or the line of action in treatment. At the same time doctors say that majority don’t care to know anything expect being dealt for their current problem. I am not sure in context of huge number of visitors; the doctors had the real scope for a detailed counselling.

Same doctors changed behaviours

Replying to public complaint about doctors not attending patient, particularly poor patients in government hospitals, a normal doctor says he was overburdened. In the same context, he could beat even a corporate public relation expert when it came to attending patients whom he saw in private clinics after his normal work hours and also explaining the details of the malady and its care.

The work pressure in government hospitals is understandable, however, a doctor always knows his expectation before he joins the noble profession and also about the place where he is working. Experience at a government hospital is always an important highlight of any doctor’s bio-data. However, I guess money makes all the difference.

But then, “Money makes the mare go”.

Hospital rush

It’s an accepted fact that the major city government hospitals, including both the government hospitals and the PGI are overburdened. All don’t have the required staff. The staff includes not merely the doctors, but also the helpers and hospital machinery.

Records of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, show that a total of 47,791 patients were seen at the OPD of gynaecology department and 7,281 patients at the emergency ward till December 31 last. Things at the PGI were no different, where at least 400 patients were examined at the gynaecology OPD every day. At the GMSH, approximately 25 deliveries were carried out each day. The total number of deliveries, last year, was 7,735.

In a relevant example, following a call of a senior colleague, recently, we tried for a ventilator for his relative who was at the PGI. We found giving him a ventilator would have only meant removing it from someone. The patient had to be rushed to a private hospital at Mohali.

It’s a common sight to see public virtually fighting for stretchers in emergency wards. Several among them are blood stained.

Public-private partnership, a non starter

While, proposal for a particular Medicity project in the city continues to be mired in a controversy, the Union Territory needs to reconsider the concept from a fresh perspective.

A large number of patients are going to the leading private hospitals in the neighbouring towns of Mohali and Panchkula. With government unable to give free hands to hospitals, private hospitals could be a possible solution.

It was mentioned during deliberations on Medicity that these private hospitals could be asked to cater to a certain percentage of poor patients under special financial provisions. The rule implementation, in this case, will have to be immaculate because we are aware of certain hospitals in the neighbouring town of Mohali who were given land with a special provision for treating the poor. On ground, there was poor implementation.

One big problem in this case was that wrapped under the controversies on mega projects, no officer will like to take any initiative for any new project.



Functional Police Complaints Authority
UT admn, cops drag feet
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
About a month and-a-half after its constitution by the Chandigarh administration, the Police Complaints Authority(PCA) is yet to start functioning, virtually dening any grievance redressal system against police high-handedness to the general public.

On June 23, the UT Home Secretary, through a notification, constituted the PCA, with Justice NK Aggarwal as chairman and AA Siddiqui and Joyshri Lobo as members for a tenure of three years. After the notification, the administration and the police seem to have forgotten to make it functional.

Sources said a meeting to chalk out modalities to make the PCA functional was held recently. “The administration is seized of the matter and the requisite infrastructure for the proper functioning of the statutory body will be created soon so that it can provide relief to victims of police high-handedness,” official sources said.

The Centre had decided to set up PCAs in all union territories to look into allegations of serious misconduct such as death in police custody, grievous hurt, rape or attempt to rape, arrest without due process of law, extortion and land grabbing and house grabbing.

The decision to set up the authority was in pursuance of the Supreme Court judgement dated September 22, 2006, on a writ petition filed by former Border Security Force chief Prakash Singh.

Since Chandigarh does not have its own human rights commission and human rights violation complaints are forwarded to the National Human Rights Commission, the PCA will go a long way in redressing grievances of residents.

In the absence of an effective grievance redressal system in the police force, the number of complaints against policemen had been on the upswing. A substantial number of aggrived persons fight shy of complaining to senior police officials for fear of being victimised.

Meanwhile, Khem Lal Bansal, general secretary of the Tricity Citizens Rights Welfare Association, has urged the administration to make the PCA functional immediately in public interest.



Rain cools city further
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The city and its nearby areas in Punjab and Haryana received moderate to heavy rain this morning and the negligible rise of 0.1 degrees Celsius in the day temperature brought relief to city residents for the second consecutive day.

“At present, the monsoon is in rigorous position in the region and most parts of Punjab and Haryana experienced heavy rain today. Due to this good rainfall, there was a dip in the maximum temperature at some places in the region,” Surender Paul, Met director, stated.

The maximum day temperature rose to 30.7 degrees Celsius and the minimum dipped to 25.4 degrees Celsius from 30.6 degrees Celsius and 25.5 degrees Celsius, respectively.

With erratic weather conditions prevailing in the city over the past few days, temperatures have been rising and falling with irregularity. While on some days the sun is shining bright and it is warm, the next day witnesses cloudy formations with cool winds.

The residents can look forward to pleasant weather tomorrow as Met officials have predicted cloudy skies, rain in some parts of the city and further dip in the minimum temperature. The sky will remain cloudy tomorrow. There is possibility of rain in some parts, a Met official said, adding that the dip in minimum temperature and cool breeze were because of moderate to heavy rain in some parts of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal. “We recorded 42.8 mm rainfall in the city in the past 24 hours,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the Met department has forecast generally cloudy sky in the region during the next 24 hours with one or two spells of moderate to heavy rain or thundershowers in the region.



Removing, putting up posters an annual ritual now

Come student council elections at Panjab University and defacement of walls and university property is most visible. In a recent meeting held between the representatives of student organisations and PU officials, the former were directed to remove their posters within a day.

While such announcements have become too common now, the university authorities have failed to check those, who secretly put up these posters on newly-painted walls during the night hours. The act of removing posters of rival party and putting up their own has become an annual ritual now. In the process, paper is wasted mercilessly by student organisations for printing thousands of posters!

DAV College walls, too, are splattered with posters of student organisations. Leave aside the college walls, even the college gate is plastered with faces of student leaders greeting the visitors.

Mean affection

The entry pass to a programme in which Sufi singer Satinder Sartaj was to perform had been lying on my study table for three days. I could not attend the performance. Friday afternoon, I started getting calls from different quarters, requesting for a pass. I had only one so could not oblige majority.

Saturday morning, I got a call from a senior college lecturer. “I am sorry, I am calling you again. Can you give me the only pass in your possession? Don’t tell my husband. In case, he calls you, just tell him that you have passed it on to someone else,” she laughed.

Congress leaders, though in opposition in the Punjab government, were flooded with calls from MLAs of the opposition, including the ruling SAD, for passes. “I was particularly amused as certain opposition leaders who exchanged hot words in the house had suddenly turned so polite to me,” the MLA said

War of words over gates’ installation

The district administration and various resident welfare associations are at loggerheads over the installation of security gates at the entry or exit points in various sectors. While the administration maintained that the municipal corporation do not have funds to install gates, residents claimed that the corporation had huge funds. The associations demanded that the corporation on the pattern of Mohali should install the gates. The associations further maintained that most of the sectors in the city had people belonging to the economically weaker sections of society, thus it would not be possible to collect funds for the gates.

Splurging uselessly

The Chandigarh administration seems to have a hotline to misplaced priorities. While sectors in Phase III (Sector 48 onwards) are crying for basic amenities, including bus stands, dispensaries and playgrounds, administration, in its wisdom (or lack of it), it has decided to install high-mast lamps at a park in Sector 48.

The project of illuminating the park at night for the benefit of strollers would cost the state exchequer a few lakhs of rupees. That is another matter that the sector is not fully-inhabited as yet. Should not be the money spent on some other productive and more useful venture, asks a senior citizens. Well, over to the authorities.

Referees don’t follow dress code

It seems that the UT education department has it’s own rule of conduct, when it comes to proper dress code of referees and assistants.

Players in the field are ensured by referees for using proper kit, but they themselves forget to dress up properly for supervising the match. A formal shirt with trousers and leather shoes is the mandated dress code for referees. Moreover, some of them are not even qualified.

A local player while watching the match said, “ This system of organising these sarkari tournaments by the department can never change, but this year one can notice a small change on the ground that there is only one main referee for supervising the match instead of two,” says Shanky.

Contributions by Neha Miglani, Sanjay Bumbroo, Pradeep Sharma, Deepankar Sharda and Rajmeet Singh



Encroachments galore on govt land at Naya Gaon
Residents seek HC intervention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
If the allegations in a writ petition are to be believed, influential people have trespassed on large chunks of government land reserved for a panchayat ghar, a veterinary hospital and even a cremation ground.

To make the matters worse, the authorities supposed to protect the public places and government land have turned a blind eye to such illegal actions, Amrik Singh and eight other residents of Naya Gaon have alleged.

In their petition, they have alleged: “Due to the nearness of the area to Chandigarh, the prices of the land have skyrocketed. It is a favourite place for VIPs of Chandigarh to own land/plot in the area and resultantly not an inch of land is left. The shareholders have sold to land mafias even the bachat land, retained for common purpose.”

Counsel Navkiran Singh asserted: “Now the area of Naya Gaon/ Karoran village has been declared to be under the Municipal Council and the development process has started. But there is no land that can be used for common purposes and even the police station is in a rented building.”

Seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to ensure the vacation of public land from illegal possession, Navkiran Singh added that illegal constructions needed to be cleared.

He contended on behalf of the petitioners that “with the passage of time, most of these places have been trespassed. Some of the public places are still lying vacant, but a boundary wall has been constructed around the same, he said.

“The petitioners have been able to identify three such public properties trespassed by individuals in connivance with the authorities concerned,” he added.



English reaches out to village girls
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The UT Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan unit has launched a unique programme to make rural girls proficient in English speaking.

The department has started special classes in its rural schools, where around 1,500 girls are being trained under specified module.

The course, that completed yesterday, aimed at improving spoken English, developing soft skills, life skills and functional knowledge of English so as to enhance employment ability after schooling, improving awareness level and upgrading written information.

“We have designed a month-long module to make these girls comfortable with the day to day usage of English. The programme does not aim at improving their subject knowledge or literary skills, but focuses on enhancing their ability to deal with the ever-increasing usage of English as key language, “ says Pritpal Kaur, coordinator, SSA.

According to Pritpal, the module is different from the regular English speaking courses, as the department has designed it keeping in mind the current level of English proficiency of students.

“These girls have been studying English as a regular subject and are thus able to read and memorise the language. It is just that they have been brought up in an environment, where people do not communicate in English. This creates inhibitions and thus they are virtually scared of conversing in English,” adds Kaur.

The module was launched after a recent survey by the SSA, which revealed that around 70 per cent of rural girls were uncomfortable while speaking the 



Sec-23 residents protest dumping of garbage
Tribune News Service

Irate residents prevent an MC garbage truck from leaving the dumping ground in Sector 23, Panchkula, on Sunday.
Irate residents prevent an MC garbage truck from leaving the dumping ground in Sector 23, Panchkula, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal 

Panchkula, August 1
High drama was witnessed in Sector 23 today, as residents prevented dump trucks of the municipal corporation from dumping garbage in their area.

The residents, who have been urging the corporation authorities to dump garbage at the already earmarked site, assembled at the site and prevented a dump truck from leaving the place after it had dumped garbage around 10.15 am.

The residents, however, let the driver go after warning him not to bring filth to their residential area in the future.

Subhash Sharma, a protesting resident, said the corporation continued to dump garbage in the area in spite of notice issued to it by the state pollution control board, directing it and HUDA to shift the dumping site from the area.

He said the residents had been requesting the corporation authorities to shift the garbage site as it had become impossible for them to live in unhygienic conditions.

Sharma added that the situation had worsened now as dump trucks, which earlier used to access the Sector-23 dumping site through the Sector-21 Ghaggar bridge, were now passing through their sector, littering garbage on the road.

However, sources in the administration said with the dispute over the setting up of treatment plant remaining unresolved, the administration had identified a site in Bunga village, near Madanpura, to dump garbage.



Mohali resident accused of abandoning wife, daughter
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 1
A married woman belonging to Phase 1 today accused her husband of abandoning her and their eight-month-old daughter and secretly flying away to Australia.

The woman, Monika, currently admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, after undergoing a surgery for stone in gall bladder, said her jewellery and passport were also missing.

“After hospitalising me, Vipan, who worked in a local branch of SMC Numatics as sales and service engineer, left for Australia,” she alleged.

Superintendent of Police (city) SS Gill said they would probe the matter once the complaint was received.

In a statement issue here, she stated that she was married to Vipan Sheel Pruti, a resident of Phase I, on January 19, 2008 and they lived at her in-laws’ place.

“Just a few weeks after the marriage, my in-laws started ill-treating me for dowry,” she alleged.

Subsequently, Monica’s parents lodged a complaint against the family as well as a neighbour on March 29, 2009.

However, both families reached a compromise after Vipan and his family apologised.

The couple then lived separately and the FIR against the family was quashed on July 15.

“On November 23, Monica gave birth to a girl. But I was ill-treated for giving birth to a girl. In the meantime, Vipan secretly applied for a family visa to Australia, which was cleared. The last time I had a word with my husband was on July 28 and he had told me that he was leaving for Ambala on an official tour for a few days,” she claimed while seeking justice from the Mohali police.



A first: GMCH treats osteosarcoma patient
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Claiming to be the first in the country, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, here has treated a patient suffering from osteosarcoma, a common bone cancer, in her left hemipelvis.

Doctors used Extracorporeal Irradiation to treat the patient two months ago and the patient was progressing well and discharged from the hospital. Though such type of procedures were available in developed countries, there was no example that a hospital had done it in India, said Dr Sudhir Garg, head, orthopaedics, GMCH.

At the Tata Cancer Institute, Mumbai, and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences have already been using this technique to treat bone tumour in other parts of the body, he said.

In fact, pelvis, a major bone forming the hip joint, is a difficult area to access as vital structure like major vessels and nerves and other major organs body were also to be taken care of during the procedure, he said.

The procedure, which takes at least seven hours and to be done in one session, is a technique where the cancerous bone is removed from the body and given radiation to kill the cancerous cells and then the bone is again fixed back in the body at its original place, said Dr Garg.

Earlier when the technique was not available in the country, the patient had to lose the affected limb as surgeons did not have any option but amputation to stop the expansion of the affected area to save the life of patient, said Dr Garg.



Students’ Election
PU to approach UT police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Panjab University is all set to approach the UT police to send dates for students’ election on campus. According to the Lyndoh committee’s report, four to six weeks’ notice is required for the authorities to declare elections.

Following the announcement regarding strict action on those blocking the traffic on the campus, the frequency of protests on PU campus has come down. “We will be writing to the UT police for elections’ dates soon. All efforts and strict measures will be made to ensure peaceful elections,” said Naval Kishore, University’s Dean Student Welfare. At a meeting, UT police officials and representatives of students’ organisations, it was announced that if students tried to cause violence on the campus, the elections would be called off this year.



PUTA’s election agenda announced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Filing of nominations for the Panjab University Teacher’s Association (PUTA) election is over. One of the lobbies headed by Akshaya Kumar of the department of English and cultural studies and Mohammed Khalid have released the poll agenda.

Members of the lobby reiterated that PUTA was the exclusive space of teachers. “The biggest challenge comes from the power-centres located outside the academia, and of course from their followers within,” said members of the association in a press release.

They said teachers in PU were the most scared lot. They said their motto for the upcoming election would be to strengthen PUTA and vote fearlessly.



No quality stickers, these
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
When imported fruits like apple, pear and apricot arrived in the local markets, these were marked with special stickers and it was presumed that these fruits were of high quality since these were also costlier.

However, consumers are now complaining about the poor quality of the fruit with stickers. “Earlier, when we would buy fruits, the stickers were a guarantee of quality,” Swapana Sharma, a resident, says, adding that now unscrupulous traders were fooling people by putting stickers on local fruits.

Some traders are mixing locally produced fruits of inferior quality with imported fruits. “They paste similar stickers on local fruits and mix these with imported ones. It is difficult to make out the difference,” Amanpreet Singh, another resident, says.

“After tasting it, if you want to return the fruit to the vendor, he will never accept it,” he adds.

There are some other traders who sell only locally produced fruit in net bags after pasting stickers on them. Unsuspecting buyers do not open the bag, presuming it to be of good quality, but later find that the fruit is rotten. In the absence of any checks, unscrupulous elements are having a field day.

Fruit traders, however, deny these charges, saying that it is not a common practice. Darshan Lal, a fruit vendor in Sector 26, says that a very small section of trader must be resorting to it. He says people should buy fruits from vendors they know. This way they cannot be cheated. “Unscrupulous elements are in every trade, but that does not mean everyone resorts to such practices,” he says.



BJP executive meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Saroj Pandey, in charge of the city affairs of the BJP, addressing the first executive meeting of the party today, urged workers to work unitedly for the victory of the party in the forthcoming MC elections.

Earlier, party president Sanjay Tandon highlighted various problems, including law and order and water shortage, faced by residents of the city while Arun Sood and Satinder Singh, general secretaries, spoke about the problems being faced by residents in slums.



700 saplings planted at PGI
Tribune News Service

Resident doctors of the PGI plant a sapling on Sunday.
Resident doctors of the PGI plant a sapling on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, August 1
The PGI Campus Residents Welfare Society, Sector 12, organised a tree plantation programme at the PGI here today. The plantation drive was inaugurated by Prof KK Talwar, director, PGIMER. Campus residents planted 700 saplings. Ornamental and herbal trees like gulmohar, kachnar, bahera, neem, amla, jamun, koelreuteria, harar, imli, karipatta, tun and bael were planted.

While in the new park, bamboo, chorisia, taxodium, amla and teak were planted.

The drive was part of the PGI’s healthy and clean environment drive under which around 12,000 saplings will be planted on the entire PGI campus.

Professor Talwar (DPGI), Dr Ashok (DMS), Dr Babita (coordinator, tree plantation programme, PGI), JR Garg, Ashok Sharma, Hemraj, Parveen Kumar, Guna Nand, a few malis of the PGI and members of the society were present.



Sector body moots e-samadhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Federation of Sector Welfare Associations (FOSWAC) today demanded the launch of centralised public grievance and monitoring system “e-samadhan” to provide multi-utility services under one roof.

At a meeting here today, the members expressed concern about the rising cases of corruption, malpractices and food adulteration.

They also said encroachments on government land, parking areas and markets, besides illegal squatting by slum dwellers, had occurred due to the failure of enforcement staff of the MC to check the menace at the initial stages.

The rehabilitation policy of the administration also needed a fresh look to discourage illegal squatting and migration of more families in view of the allotment of dwelling units, they added.



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